With the fallout from that now infamous Debate #1 about to be replaced by whatever’s coming with Debate #2 in a few hours, it’s now time for me to weigh in and try to set the record straight.
For starters, let’s separate Obama’s performance as President from that in the debate. In the latter, Romney pivoted hard to the center, something that the Obama campaign should have seen coming. Obama’s opportunity to call Romney on abandoning all the positions he needed to have to win the Republican Primary was unfortunately right then.
Imagine if Obama had done the research to actually identify the expenditures Romney says he’d make. What if Obama had said something like: “Governor Romney, your position paper released <date> calls for $x billion increase in y (i.e. corporate subsidies), does it not?” Romney: “Well yes it does.” Obama: “And your proposed military budget increases have us spending an additional $x billion, isn’t that true?” Romney: “That’s correct.” Obama: “And your…” etc., etc., until Obama can say: “Well that adds up to $5 billion. How does that not add up to $5 billion? Do you stand by that number or don’t you?”
The main problem with the debate was an utter lack on Obama’s part to say anything like: “You said this here and then, are you changing your position?” He lacked the basic and baseline perspicacity that, frankly, when absent, as it was, makes one scared to think of him in the role of President.
And, when Romney says that he also has a cap tied to the deficit, specifically saying, “No economist can say, ‘Mitt Romney’s tax plan adds five trillion’ if I say I will not add to the deficit with my tax plan,” if the opponent cannot simply say: “But your proposals can only generate x in revenue and can cost no less than y, therefore, they will at a minimum take us $x billion over that deficit number, so then they absolutely will have to trigger your cap, and therefore those proposals are not genuine.” I think the American people, as evidenced by Bill Clinton’s speech, are hungry for detail, and actually to be spoken to as somewhat intelligent. So, Obama, you can even whip out a pencil for effect, and say: “Excuse me while I do a little math…nope, not possible Mitt. The number I get is actually 6.2 billion. I think you’re hoodwinking us, and I’m not going to let it happen, not on my watch.”
So that’s what I am hoping for with debate #2.